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Florida Ridesharing Accident: Who’s Liable & What to Do

Ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft have become a popular way to get around in Florida. While convenient, these services aren’t without risk, and accidents involving rideshare vehicles also happen. If you’ve been injured in a ridesharing accident, either as a passenger or another driver on the road, you may not know where to turn. Car accident attorneys at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP can fight for the compensation you deserve. 

Florida Ridesharing: A Safe Ride with Clear Rules

Florida has established a clear legal framework for ridesharing services like Uber and Lyft, ensuring passenger safety and driver accountability. This legislation, known as House Bill 221 (HB 221) or the “Uber/Lyft Bill,” offers peace of mind for both riders and drivers.

Thorough Background Checks: Ridesharing companies must ensure drivers undergo comprehensive background checks before being approved and every three years thereafter. These checks look for criminal convictions, DUIs, and frequent traffic violations. Additionally, disqualifying factors include serious criminal convictions, frequent moving violations, and being on the National Sex Offender Public Website.

Driver Identification: For added passenger assurance, HB 221 requires drivers to display their license plate number and photo clearly. This allows passengers to verify their ride matches the app information before entering the vehicle.

Insurance Requirements: HB 221 mandates specific insurance coverage for ridesharing vehicles. When a driver is logged into the app but not actively transporting a passenger, minimum coverage applies for personal injury and property damage. This coverage increases significantly when a driver has a passenger on board. The ridesharing company or the drivers themselves can provide this heightened insurance during rides.

Driver Conduct: HB 221 enforces a strict no-tolerance policy for drivers under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Ridesharing in Florida operates through app-based pre-bookings. Street hails are not allowed, maintaining a secure and organized system for both riders and drivers.

After a Ridesharing Accident in Florida: Steps to Take

Ridesharing accidents can be a frightening experience. While hopefully everyone escapes serious injury, it’s important to know what steps to take to protect yourself and ensure a smooth claims process. Here’s a roadmap to follow after a ridesharing accident in Florida:

Ensure Everyone’s Safety and Call for Help:

The first priority is to check on everyone involved in the accident. If anyone appears seriously injured, call 911 immediately. Even if injuries seem minor, seek medical attention promptly. Early medical evaluation can help diagnose any hidden issues and establish a record of your injuries.

Document the Scene:

While waiting for help to arrive, take pictures of the accident scene if you’re able to do so safely. Capture photos of the damage to all vehicles involved, any debris or road conditions that might have contributed to the accident, and any visible injuries you may have sustained.

Gather Information:

Exchange contact information with all involved drivers, including your ridesharing driver and any other motorists in the accident. Obtain their insurance details as well. This information will help you file insurance claims or pursue compensation later.

Report the Accident:

Florida law requires filing a police report for accidents involving injuries or property damage exceeding a certain threshold. The police will investigate the scene, interview those involved, and create a report that can be helpful in determining fault and resolving claims.

Understand Florida’s No-Fault Insurance System:

Florida is a no-fault state, meaning that regardless of who caused the accident, you initially file a claim with your own insurance company to access Personal Injury Protection (PIP) benefits. PIP covers medical expenses and lost wages up to a certain limit.

Consider Fault and Potential Claims:

While PIP can cover initial medical expenses, it may not be enough depending on the severity of your injuries. In such cases, you may need to explore additional avenues for compensation. This could involve filing a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance if another motorist caused the accident, or against the ridesharing company’s insurance if the fault lies with your driver or the company itself. Determining fault can be complex, so consulting with a car accident attorney is recommended.

Keep Records and Seek Legal Guidance:

Maintain detailed records of all accident-related expenses, medical bills, and lost wages. This documentation will be helpful when pursuing compensation. An experienced car accident lawyer can advise you on your legal options, navigate the complexities of ridesharing insurance policies, and fight for the compensation you deserve.

Ridesharing Accident Liability: Who Might Be Responsible?

Ridesharing accidents can raise questions about who is to blame. Unlike traditional employer-employee relationships, rideshare drivers are often classified as independent contractors. This can make determining fault more complex.

While the at-fault driver is typically liable for damages, the ridesharing company itself might also share responsibility depending on the circumstances. Key factors include:

  • The Driver’s App Status: If the driver was logged into the app and waiting for a ride or actively transporting a passenger, the ridesharing company’s insurance may apply.
  • The Cause of the Accident: If the driver’s negligence (distracted driving, speeding, etc.) caused the accident, they’ll likely be liable.
  • The Ridesharing Company’s Screening Process: If a driver with a concerning background check history was hired, the company might be held partially responsible.

If you’re unsure about liability after a ridesharing accident, it is better to consult with car accident lawyers experienced in these cases. They can analyze the specifics of your situation and advise you on your legal options.

Protect Your Rights After a Ridesharing Crash in Florida: Free Consultation Available

Don’t wait to get the help you deserve after a ridesharing accident. Florida has a 2-year statute of limitations for personal injury claims, so time is of the essence. Our Miami car accident attorneys at Dolan Dobrinsky Rosenblum Bluestein, LLP understand the complexities of ridesharing insurance and shared liability. We offer free consultations to discuss your case and explore your options. We work on a no-win, no-fee basis, so you won’t pay a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries. Call us at 305-371-2692 and schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case.